Although America’s universities have become the envy of the world for their creative energy and their production of transformative knowledge, few understand how and why they have become preeminent. This groundbreaking book traces the origins and the evolution of our great universities. It shows how they grew out of sleepy colleges at the turn of the twentieth century into powerful institutions that continue to generate new industries and advance our standard of living. Far from inevitable, this transformation was enabled by a highly competitive system that invested public tax dollars in university research and students while granting universities substantial autonomy. Today, America’s universities face considerable threats. Even greater than foreign competition are the threats from within the United States. Under the Bush administration, government increasingly imposed ideological constraints on the freedom of academic inquiry. Restrictive visa policies instituted after 9/11 continue to discourage talented foreign graduate students from training in the United States. The international financial crisis, which has depleted university endowments and state investments in higher education, threatens the vitality of some of our greatest institutions of higher learning. In order to sustain and enhance the American tradition of excellence, we must nurture this powerful—yet underappreciated—national resource.
Jonathan R. Cole
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a very large book (600pp.+) on an equally large subject. Its author is a distinguished academic, principally known for his service as provost at Columbia. He is a sociologist. I have had occasion to work with him when he served as a member of a site visit team evaluating the structure and positioning of one of our schools at Georgetown University. He has superb academic judgment and rock-solid academic instincts, coupled with (and informed by) deep experience.
He tilts left (as a New York academic sociologist would be expected to) but he is free of the extremes of political correctness. His take on the nature and importance of our major research universities is very predictable. That is not a criticism, but an observation that his views speak for the views of many. Hence, the book is extremely `representative' though few would be able to write it.
His audience is a large one--those individuals interested in our top research universities and their...
This a great book about the history of American Universities and their pathway to excellence. For those living in countries other than the U.S., it is a recipe and sort of inspiration to build strong universities, with focus on producing knowledge, providing qualified resources to diverse areas, interacting with different sectors of the society and contributing to the country's growth. A must-read for any person involved with education and administration.
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